As companies look to market their goods and services, they should pay careful attention to how age affects happiness. That's what a new study by Cassie Mogilner and Amit Bhattacharjee suggests. These scholars examined how particular types of experiences affects our happiness. Here's an excerpt from Knowledge @ Wharton that summarizes their findings:
After conducting eight different studies looking at a variety of influences and experiences, Mogilner and Bhattacharjee conclude that “younger people who view their future as extensive gain more happiness from extraordinary experiences.” As people get older, and more aware that their time on earth is finite, ordinary experiences become increasingly associated with happiness, and even begin to catch up to the extraordinary in the amount of joy and contentment they produce.
What's the break point in terms of age? It appears to be the mid-30s (ouch, I'm in the older group!). What do they define as ordinary vs. extraordinary? Ordinary may be a wonderful meal shared between mother and daughter. Extraordinary might be a trip to Paris or a weekend hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
How can marketers capitalize on this research? The scholars argue that firms can even tailor their advertising to account for these findings. Featuring the extraordinary might be useful in an advertisement for a product aimed at teenagers. Featuring a happy ordinary event might be best-suited for an advertisement targeted at Baby Boomers.